Amazing Chipotle Paste Substitute List for Your Mexican Meal

Ready for Mexican-themed dinners?

One of the key ingredients you’ll need is a chipotle paste, which is featured in almost all Mexican dishes!

This paste features smoked jalapenos with other dried chilies, bringing a unique spiciness and smokiness to your recipes.

So, what can you do if you have none around?

There’s always a chipotle paste substitute to save the day! We list down the best alternatives to this versatile seasoning, so read on!

What’s Chipotle Paste?

Chipotle paste refers to jalapenos that were dried, smoked, then made into a paste. I

t’s sometimes blended with other ingredients like tomatoes, garlic, onions, dried herbs, spices, and sugar, for its rich, sweet, and spicy taste.

Fun fact: Chipotle chilies are made of dried red jalapenos, which have about 5,000 to 8,000 SHU. Not bad if you want a bit of spice but not too much!
image of Chipotle Paste

Best Chipotle Paste Substitute

Don’t skip out on chipotle paste if your recipe requires it! If you run out or can’t find any at home or in the supermarket, use a chipotle paste substitute from our options below:

1. Ancho Chili Powder

Ancho chili powder is the best chipotle paste substitute. It’s made of poblano peppers and shares many characteristics with chipotle. They are both made of whole and dried, smoked peppers!

Fun fact: Ancho chili originates from the central Mexican state of Puebla, where chilies have grown even before the Aztec empire! Ancho chilies are also known as pasilla chiles in California, though these are actually two different chiles! (*)

That said, poblano chilies are milder than jalapenos, so expect a slightly milder flavor and spice when using ancho chili powder.

You may add a bit more of this powder as needed to achieve your desired taste.

2. Smoked Paprika

Chipotle paste has a smoky flavor, so expect smoked paprika to be an amazing chipotle paste substitute. (*)

It’s not only very easy to find in the supermarket (you probably already have it in your kitchen), but it provides the smokiness you’re after for your dishes.

But like ancho chili powder, smoked paprika is milder than chipotle paste, so it’s best to add a bit more.

You can also use a mix of smoked paprika and cayenne pepper for added spice.

3. Southwestern Sauce

Southwestern sauce is another amazing chipotle paste substitute, made from chipotle, lime juice, garlic, mustard, and mayo.

You can use the pepper or sauce version, which is perfect in salad dressings or sandwiches. This ingredient tastes similar to the chipotle sauce but may have a slightly creamier consistency from the mayo.

4. Chipotle in Adobo Sauce

Chipotle in adobo sauce is a fantastic chipotle paste substitute as it’s also popular and readily available in areas where Tex-Mex cuisine shines. After all, it’s made with chipotle peppers as well!

Fun fact: Chipotles in adobo sauce are made of smoked and dried jalapenos that are then rehydrated and canned in a puree made of vinegar, tomatoes, garlic, and other spices.

The only thing you have to watch out for is the distinct tangly flavor that pairs with the smoky chili’s undertones. But even then, many people may appreciate the refreshing change.

5. Chili Garlic Paste

If you have none of the ingredients above or want something with similar consistency, then chili garlic paste is a suitable chipotle paste substitute.

It’s readily available in supermarkets or already in your kitchen.

While you get good heat from this paste, the flavor doesn’t match chipotle paste.

You only get a similar earthy flavor but not that smoky undertone.

We only recommend this chipotle paste substitute if you’re in a pinch!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What does chipotle paste taste like?

Chipotle paste has a smoky flavor as it uses whole, dried, smoked jalapenos. There are also other Mexican chilies included to give it the creamy, tangy, and slightly spicy taste and consistency. Expect the paste to bring some heat with a hint of sweetness to meals.

2. Where do you use chipotle paste?

There are many ways you can use chipotle paste, such as:

  • Use it in a marinade for barbecues and roasts, as it works great with meat, seafood, or veggies.
  • As a cooking ingredient for more depth of flavor in stews and other recipes.
  • As a filling or topping in burgers, canapes, or sandwiches.
  • Jazz up your spreads, like aioli or mayo!
Fun fact: Chipotle is also a name for a popular Mexican fast-food chain, and they are known for their delicious Mexican burritos and plates, sourcing ingredients from ethically-minded suppliers.  

3. Can I make my own chipotle paste?

Yes, you can make your own!

Here are the ingredients to prepare:

  • 20 chipotle chilies
  • Two garlic cloves
  • Juice from one lime
  • One tablespoon of sugar
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • A pinch of ground cumin
  • Water (as needed)
  • One tablespoon of olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon of balsamic vinegar

Follow these directions:

  1. Dry roast your chilies for a few minutes over medium heat with the oil and balsamic vinegar. Don’t let your chilies burn! If you want your paste less spicy, cut the stalk ends and shake the seeds off.
  2. Once cooked, cut your chilies with scissors, letting them soak in hot water for 20 minutes. Drain your chilies and rinse, removing the seeds if desired.
  3. Place your chilies and the rest of your ingredients in a chopper then blend until it’s a fine paste, adding water as needed.
  4. Pour your mixture into a jar and you’re done!
Fun fact: Chipotle peppers have many health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure managing diabetes, protecting against heart disease, helping with respiratory conditions, and even aiding in weight loss!

Wrapping It Up

Ever wondered why Tex-Mex cuisine is so addicting?

That’s thanks to its blend of spices and seasonings like chipotle paste! But if you have none in the kitchen, there’s always an excellent chipotle paste substitute you can always use, from chili paste to chipotle in adobo sauce!

image of Amazing Chipotle Paste Substitute List for Your Mexican Meal

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